The story behind Fund VIII, and our life as a multi-stage firm

For the past twenty-one years, Balderton has had the privilege of backing Europe’s most extraordinary early-stage companies.

Today we announced Fund VIII, our largest yet at $600M, which will be deployed in exactly the same way as the seven that came before – early, pan-European, technology-focused and founder-centric.This fund, alongside our Growth fund raised in June of this year, sets out our intention to build the preeminent European multi-stage venture capital firm.Raising two funds in one year has been hard work and an exciting journey for us but, more importantly, working in tandem, the early and growth funds now power a flywheel that that benefits founders at every stage of their journey. 

A larger team, on the ground, across Europe

Investing is, at its core, a shoe-leather business. We need people on the ground across all the major hubs of Europe seeking out new companies and meeting with entrepreneurs. We now have over 30 people working on this including permanent teams in the UK, the Nordics, France and Germany.

We have grown our investment and portfolio services team to over 30 people

The people who make up Balderton Early and Balderton Growth pursue different investment strategies but work as a single team. We rebuilt our CRM from the ground-up to share our learnings. We have pooled brainpower so we bring the best of our collective thinking to every conversation we have. More people means more expertise and that means we can get to the heart of conversations with the right questions more often, more quickly and across a broad range of sectors including historically strong ones for us like enterprise software and financial technology but also new ones like microbiome health and distributed finance.

More experience to help your journey as a founder

But finding companies and making investments is just the first step. This team, supported by a further 30 people back at HQ in our wider team are then partners to the teams we back through every step of their journey.

our equal partnership structure means you get whomever you need, whenever you need them

First, having the two funds allows us to provide capital at every key stage of financing. Second, the pooled expertise we use in those first conversations is available at any time our portfolio needs it; regardless of which fund your company sits in, our equal partnership structure means you get whomever you need, whenever you need them.Regardless of investment stage, we look for experts in our team to offer anything our companies need, from advice about later-stage fundraising and debt, to what ‘good’ looks like in metrics or measurements, how and when to make critical hires, or when and how to expand to new markets and products. To put it very simply, a larger team means a larger portfolio and more experience — of success and failure — which we share and use to better inform the teams we work with.

Deep specialisation across key sectors

Technology sits at the heart of many of the things we do in our daily life and work. This means that being an expert in technology itself is no longer enough. Today you have to understand all of the many markets that technology will touch and change. Twenty-one years and close to three hundred portfolio companies mean our team has that expertise. Whether you are a dev-first infrastructure company, a social media app or a next-generation retailer, we will bring what we know to every board call and every meeting.

In 2021, we added no less than 13 new unicorns in our portfolio, the majority of which we invested in at an early (seed or Series A) stage. The collective wisdom of being an observer and partner to the journeys of how those companies were built is a treasure trove of insight that we are able to share with our founders, giving them every unfair advantage we can possibly offer.

A vibrant, growing community of peers

When we ask founders what they value most from our involvement one thing that comes back time and time again is the community. Today, we have a CEO community of over 100 people, who share advice with one another in a private community. And we’re particularly proud of the communities we have built beyond CEOs too. We now have an active community of over 600 Marketing, Product, People, Technology, Finance and Legal portfolio leaders who actively share best practices with one another in private forums. And we keep adding to these groups. Most recently, with the launch of our Sustainable Future Goals initiative, we gathered over 60 portfolio peers actively involved in sustainability and impact to share ideas and learnings with one another.

Balderton’s CEOs at the 2018 CEO Collective Summit

Two new funds, 60 people, 100+ portfolio companies, over $1.2B in funding … but one team

As we reflect on this point in our history as a venture firm, we have much to be excited about. But what we’re really excited about is Europe. We no longer have to defend Europe’s position as a creator of important technology companies on a global scale. We see them every day. There’s a reason so much global capital is now flowing into European technology. It’s because this is where the exciting new breakouts are happening, and we welcome what that means. We are thrilled to be here, and to be here now, drawing on our twenty-one years of experience and looking forward to the next twenty-one years with equal, and probably even more, enthusiasm.